The Hollywood Reporter marks the passing of William “Bud” Luckey at the age of 83 after an extended illness. He was an animator and voice actor whose most enduring works include several classic Sesame Street cartoons along with work for Pixar Animation Studios, where he designed Woody the cowboy for the first Toy Story movie and wrote and directed the Oscar-nominated short film “Boundin’,” about a dancing sheep who is too embarrassed to dance after he is shaved (where Mr. Luckey also provided the voice of the jackalope).
Mr. Luckey’s formal art education began at the Chouinard Art Institute (now the renowned California Institute of the Arts) and USC after serving in the Korean War. His earliest work in the 1960’s included stints on original programming and advertising, including work on the earliest animated Peanuts characters for advertising (where he worked closely with Peanuts creator Charles Schulz and animator Bill Melendez). His work at the ad agencies led him to collaborations with copywriter Don Hadley and puppeteer Jim Henson; Hadley and Luckey collaborated on numerous iconic Sesame Street shorts during the 1970’s, including “The Ladybug’s Picnic,” “That’s About the Size of It,” “The Alligator King,” “Penny Candy Man,” and “The Old Woman Who Lived in a Nine.” In many of these shorts, Mr. Luckey often provided the voiceover and/or banjo accompaniment.
Mr. Luckey joined Pixar Animation Studios in 1990 as a character designer, storyboard artist, and animator for Toy Story. In addition to shifting Woody from a ventriloquist’s dummy to the cowboy doll, his son Andy is often cited as the inspiration for the toys’ owner Andy. His character designs are also in A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, Cars, WALL-E, and Up (among others). While Mr. Luckey retired from animation in 2008, he did voice work until 2014, providing the voice for Chuckles the Clown in Toy Story 3 and National Supers Agency agent Rick Dicker in The Incredibles, and Eeyore in the 2011 animated Winnie the Pooh feature.
The family has asked that donations be made to the California Institute of the Arts â€” Bud Luckey Scholarship Fund, in lieu of flowers.